Totally Predictable: Many New Medicaid Enrollees Finding It Hard To Find Care

Absolutely no one saw this coming, and how dare Fox News expose it….wait, this is the NY Times?

Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report.

The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor.

Most of the article Blames state standards and enforcement for this lack of access, thinking somehow that Government bureaucrats can magically create the ability for millions of new enrollees to see health care specialists with “checklists” and mandates, and activist groups agree

Sarah Somers, who represents poor individuals as a lawyer at the National Health Law Program, said federal Medicaid standards must be updated because “beneficiaries have reported serious problems obtaining the care they need, particularly reproductive health and specialty care.”

See? More Government rules will solve the problem. Hooray! The Times eventually lets the cat out of the bag

In assessing whether health plans have enough doctors, states typically rely on information supplied by insurers, Mr. Levinson said, but “this information is often inaccurate or out of date.” Some doctors are no longer in health plan networks. Some are not taking new Medicaid patients. Some were never at the address listed in the insurer’s directory of providers.

And

Jeff M. Myers, the president of Medicaid Health Plans of America, a trade group, said: “Our plans do everything they can to make sure beneficiaries have access to the care they need. But in some underserved areas, it’s very hard to find additional specialists and primary care physicians.

And

The inspector general’s report focused on Medicaid, but Obama administration officials are wrestling with similar issues as they set standards for private health plans sold on insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act.

While there are certainly some issues with getting some low income folks to the health centers, the bigger problem revolves around adding around 10 million more health insurance (Ocare, Medicaid) recipients to the pool of people who want to see doctors, while the pool of doctors actually shrinks because they will not accept Ocare insurance nor new Medicaid patients, thanks to the terrible repayment plans, among the primary reasons. If only someone told us about this beforehand.

Fortunately, the Times is there to softpedal the real issues on page A26 of the New York edition.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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